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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon April 30, 2012
Story Description:

Over five years in the writing, The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

In 70 C.E., nine-hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman's novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael's mother died in childbirth, and her father an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker's wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior's daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow solider. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.

The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers and all are also keeping secrets about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's masterpiece.

My Review:

I have read a lot of novels about ancient Jerusalem during this era but I must begin this particular review with one word - WOW!! I was completely entranced with Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers which took place during the Roman siege during the first century abbreviated as C.E. which stands for Common Era. Common Era refers to the years counting forward from the birth of Jesus. C.E. has mostly replaced the old use of A.D. in an effort to appease non-theological references and non-believers. The use of Common Era is a more accepted practice now.

The Jewish war was written around 75 C.E. by a man named Flavius Josephus who was a Jewish historian.

Masada was a desert fortress situated at the top of a rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert and overlooking the Dead Sea. Masada is the Hebrew word for fortress.

Hoffman delivers a breathtaking account of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. In 73 C.E. the Roman Governor Flavius Silva marched against Masada with the Tenth Legion. The Romans quickly built camps at the base of Masada in preparation to lay siege to it. They built massive walls and constructed a rampart, then built a huge ramp, moved the battering ram up the ramp and breached the wall of the fortress.

The story is told through the voices of four different women: Yael, Revka, Aziza and Shirah. Each of these women had secrets about where they came from, who they are, who their fathers were, and who they love. Each of the women's stories bound them together throughout the novel emotionally and symbolically. The change in each woman's story flowed effortlessly and leant to the dynamic retelling of this sad and tragic period in history.

The dramatic end to this story will rip your heart out and leave tear-stains on your pages as you turn them. The title The Dovekeepers has a symbolic meaning throughout the story.

I've read a lot of Hoffman's work and I believe this to be her very best. I believe this will become a classic in the future and a novel that will be talked about in book groups, people's living rooms, in the news and will be a bestseller. I for sure will be touting the merits of this book to anyone and everyone who will listen. Kudos to you Ms. Hoffman!
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on January 16, 2014
I am loving the Dovekeepers. It is a captivating excerpt of a time in history that quickly drew me in to the characters and the various scenes there were living in during that time. I found my imagination and senses drawn deeply into the tone of that time in history as well. Each characters inner and outer life is individually and uniquely portrayed in such a way that one cannot help but get the essence of character.
The four women bring the novel even more to life in the individualized life adventures however it is their inner lives, the secrets they keep, their individual passion leanings that drew me in the more. As well I found the correlations of these woman's lives in our modern times is insightful and deepening.
Not looking forward to not being on the journey of life with these women as they have been a delight to get to know.
It is clear in the rhythm of the story that Alice Hoffman has done her homework on this novel and I look forward to reading more from her.
Best novel I have read in my life that educates, inspires, connects and supports the birthing of my faith and those early days of the whys and how.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2012
This book had my interest from begining to the end.The characters are full of depth and at the end I left me wanting more. The growth of each character developing with the actual historic event was well done. I have recommeded this book to my friends who are now reading it.
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on May 14, 2013
I have recommended this book to all my friends and I also recommend it to anyone who loves 'history'' will enjoy this story. You visually see in your mind the fate that awaited the Jews on Masada. It is one of the books in my library that I will NOT loan out. If you wish to read it and not buy it , then go to the library and borrow it but be warned that you may want to buy it for yourself.
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on May 23, 2013
I could not put "The Dovekeeper" down once I started reading it! Loved the way the author presented this true story with fiction. It was one of those books which I was so sorry to come to 'the end'. Loved it....
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on June 18, 2015
Interesting read about Masada and the people who we under siege there. Good character development. Each section almost reads like a short story but each chapter is neatly tied into the whole.
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on October 22, 2012
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman . . . . detail and history was phenomenal . . . could not put the book down and have recommended it to several avid readers.
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on October 4, 2014
I normally wouldn't of read this book but because I'm in a book club I had to and I actually really enjoyed it. Very different and not expected!
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on January 28, 2013
Loved the way the four characters were intertwined throughout the story, it kept you waiting to find out how they would all survive in the end.
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on June 5, 2014
Not only a story of survival but how love's bonds are most often bound with invisible steel. Strong historic women
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